INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “We wanted tough kids, we wanted guys who played together, and we wanted smart kids,” Kevin Pritchard said.
Pacers President Kevin Pritchard feels he has just that. The team introduced its newest members, but not before addressing the departure of Paul George.
“Personally and professionally, it’s tough, but, at the end of the day, we have to move on. And the way I look at it, it’s a little bit like a rebirth,” Pritchard said.
But don’t you dare call it a rebuild. The organization wants it clear they intend to compete at a high level in the East.
“We want to be a competitive team next year. So everybody’s saying we have to go back to the bottom, that’s not true,” Pritchard said.
Also not true? Most of the trade rumors that circulated a week ago … especially the one that the Celtics offered the Pacers two starters and draft picks.
“A lot of those offers are put out into the media for a reason. A lot of times if it hits that level, then it’s probably not going to happen or was never true,” Pritchard said.
One newcomer Indiana University fans cannot wait to cheer on? Former Hoosier Victor Oladipo! An athletic guard who has yet to reach his full potential on the court.
“I’m a Hoosier. Living, breathing, any way you can imagine, I’m a Hoosier. To be able to play for the state team and represent the Pacers organization is a blessing,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo has spent some time in the NBA, but nothing will prepare him for when he gets runs out of this tunnel in a Pacers uniform into a fieldhouse full of Indiana fans.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of them again, playing for them. A lot of times when I come back here they give me a warm welcome, but they didn’t want me to win. So now I get the best of both worlds,” said Oladipo.
The new era of the Pacers has arrived, ready or not!